One of the main goals of the LIFE program is to increase the viability and sustainability of farms run by socially disadvantaged, undeserved Southeast Asian growers in Hawaii and to integrate farmers into mainstream agriculture. We consider mainstream producers to have: sound understanding of crop production issues, business action plan, quality products, consistent products, market awareness, market presence, and are active participants, information seekers, transformational leaders and demonstrate willingness to assist others.
Willingness to help one another is just of the characteristics we promote when assisting growers who are transitioning into ‘mainstream’ operations. We couldn’t be more ecstatic about LIFE cooperator and advocate, Mr. You Soukaseum (commonly called Mr. You) from Kahuku, Oahu. Mr You recently took time out of his busy day to share mango growing and fruit fly control strategy tips with a traveling scholar from Africa, Mr. Leonard Seempijja and PEPS colleague Dr. Luc LeBlanc
Mr. Seempijja said,” Thank you so much, again, for yesterday's trip. That was really great.” The tips Mr. You shared with the two visitors were valuable and well received. LIFE agent, Jari Sugano was in attendance to facilitate the physical meeting between the two groups, but allowed the grower to lead the conversation. She said, “It was an excellent example of a Hawaii grower ‘paying it forward’ in helping other farmers grow as well.”